Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex

Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex by supporting the AFSC- Arizona campaign

Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex by supporting the AFSC- Arizona campaign
AFSC-Arizona staff are amazing advocates for prisoners - and as such, are true blessings to our communities. Spend time on their site - lots of resources.

Retiring Arizona Prison Watch...


This site was originally started in July 2009 as an independent endeavor to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of Marcia Powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-Perryville, in Goodyear, AZ, in May 2009.

Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.

Marcia's death and this blog compelled me to work for the next 5 1/2 years to document and challenge the prison industrial complex in AZ, most specifically as manifested in the Arizona Department of Corrections. I corresponded with over 1,000 prisoners in that time, as well as many of their loved ones, offering all what resources I could find for fighting the AZ DOC themselves - most regarding their health or matters of personal safety.

I also began to work with the survivors of prison violence, as I often heard from the loved ones of the dead, and learned their stories. During that time I memorialized the Ghosts of Jan Brewer - state prisoners under her regime who were lost to neglect, suicide or violence - across the city's sidewalks in large chalk murals. Some of that art is here.

In November 2014 I left Phoenix abruptly to care for my family. By early 2015 I was no longer keeping up this blog site, save occasional posts about a young prisoner in solitary confinement in Arpaio's jail, Jessie B.

I'm deeply grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me throughout the years I did this work. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I've linked to some posts about advocating for state prisoner health and safety to the right, as well as other resources for families and friends. If you are in need of additional assistance fighting the prison industrial complex in Arizona - or if you care to offer some aid to the cause - please contact the Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross at PO Box 7241 / Tempe, AZ 85281. collective@phoenixabc.org

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com



AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Community & family ties reduce recidivism.

Anyone who has done research into evidence-based practice knows this...AZ legislator John Kavanaugh only shows his ignorance in the article below...


Prisoners have families, too.
AZ State Capitol Complex, Phoenix
(November 2009
)


---------from the Huffington Post-------


Prison Visits Make Inmates Less Likely To Commit Crimes After Release, Study Finds

Huffington Post

Posted: 12/ 7/11 07:27 PM ET

Just a single visit from a family member or a friend can make a big difference in whether or not a prisoner ends up back behind bars after their release, a new study finds.

The study, by researchers with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, determined that prisoners who received at least one personal visit at any time during their incarceration were 13 percent less likely to commit another felony and 25 percent less likely to end up back in prison on a technical parole violation. Data showed that the more visits prisoners received, the lower their chance of re-offending after release.

The study tracked 16,000 prisoners over nearly five years, making it the largest such study of its kind, according to Grant Duwe, director of research for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, who led the research team. The study will be published in the Criminal Justice Policy Review, a peer-reviewed academic journal.

Duwe said prison officials in Minnesota were already weighing how to apply its results to the state's corrections policies.

"I think the completion of this study gives us some tangible evidence to show that if we can increase visitation, we can give offenders more of the social support they need to succeed," he said.

Several previous, smaller-scale studies have found an even larger correlation between prison visitation and inmates' likelihood of re-offending. But most state prison systems continue to see visitation as a privilege, not a tool to help inmates establish law-abiding lives after their release, Duwe said.

"I think visitation has been largely viewed as a concession that's given to inmates," he said. "I don't know if there has been a great deal of thought given to the public safety benefits that visitation might have."

As the economic slowdown has bitten into state budgets, some prison systems have already altered visitation policies in order to save money. In Minnesota, a temporary government shutdown earlier this year led to the suspension of all prisoner visitation as a cost-saving measure.

In July, Arizona lawmakers imposed a one-time $25 fee on all adult visitors to inmates. Funds from the fee are to be directed to maintenance of state prisons. Middle Ground Prison Reform, an advocacy group, filed suit against the state, calling the fee an "unconstitutional tax."

"If this policy results in delaying or diminishing or eliminating prison visitation for anyone, the state is shooting themselves in the foot in terms of rehabilitation," Donna Hamm, a retired municipal court judge and executive director of the group, said in September, according to the Associated Press. "That's a very short-sighted view of public safety policy."

John Kavanagh, the Republican legislator who wrote the provision, scoffed at the idea that the fee would discourage prison visitors, however.

"If a one-time charge of $25 is enough to dissuade you from visiting your loved one, then I'm wondering how much of a loved one he or she is," he told the Arizona Daily Star.

Duwe declined to comment specifically on the Arizona policy. But he said the results of the Minnesota study clearly suggested that states have a fiscal incentive to encourage visitation, not discourage it.

A single parole violation that returns a released inmate to prison, even briefly, costs upwards of $9,000. A prisoner who commits a new felony and spends additional years behind bars will cost far more.

"The benefits we could see from a reduction in recidivism could vastly outweigh the cost of increasing visitation," he said.

A few states, such as Idaho and Virginia, are already experimenting with a novel and cost-effective way to boost interaction between inmates and their loved ones: internet-based video visitation systems, which have proven popular with inmates and administrators.

Yet while a growing body of research shows that overall, visits by family, friends, religious figures and community mentors are overwhelmingly positive for inmates, data from the Minnesota study shows that one type of visitor should probably be avoided. Visits by an ex-wife or ex-husband, it found, can actually lead inmates to commit more crime after their release.

"Visits from ex-spouses could do more harm than good," Duwe said. "That was kind of an interesting finding."

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